Hickory is the hardest of the indigenous wood species. It is twice as hard as oak. “Hickory” is not a single wood species. Hickory is a mixture of pignut, shagbark, pecan and bitternut hickory. The tree is relatively small so wider wood is expensive. This wood has been used for floors in airports as well as for many residences. If you pay a signicant premium it can be sorted for heartwood color (medium brown) or sapwood color (pinkish white). All of the unsorted floors are very varied in color.
Hickory stains very readily, and even light stains are effective in reducing the color variation. Most people who chose this floor, however, like the variation, knots, and figure of even the most varegated floors.
It is important to know that hickory responds
quickly to changes in humidity, and that it has a maximum ability to change
dimensions. Moreover, it does not compression set so that a hickory floor
that is trying to expand in high humidity will buckle. All hickory floors
must have room to expand and contract.